Rape culture fueled by double standards

Image by Jane Zankman

By Tyler Mead, Senior Writer

I have never received a lecture about being careful about accepting a drink from someone, dressing provocatively or making sure I have a friend around for safety purposes when I am talking to someone of the opposite sex. The reason I have never received these cautionary warnings, even though half of my peers have, is because I am a male.

Girls are constantly told these things in effort to teach them about avoiding sexual assault. Then, if a woman is sexually assaulted, it becomes partially her fault for not following one of these rules. This is sexism, and it comes from a troubling male-driven culture.

The overarching problem is how sexuality is viewed differently for both genders in pop culture. Males are told sex is awesome and that they should try to have as much of it with as many women as possible. Women are taught that if they have sex outside of a committed relationship, they are sluts and should be ashamed of themselves. Sex should be an enjoyable experience for both people involved so long as it is safe, and more importantly, consensual.

Consensual does not mean pressuring someone to have sex, forcing them to have sex or having sex while the other per

son is unconscious. No means no, and no amount of “mixed signals” should ever make a person think it is okay to have sex with someone who is passed out and cannot even say no.

The reason these gender-based views of sexuality can be dangerous is because males can feel pressured or even entitled to have sex. This alpha-male mentality of proving oneself through sexual conquests could potentially lead men to resorting to force themselves on women as a way of scoring without any concern for the woman involved.

The public reaction after a rape can be the most disturbing part. Because the girl was involved in sex, even though she was not consenting to it, she was still having sex outside a committed relationship and can be branded a slut by her peers.

The sad fact is that rape is not seen as a terrible crime. It is seen as something that is partially the fault of the victim. Think about it: would anyone blame a person for getting shot in a movie theatre for no reason? No, they would not, but if a girl’s skirt is too short or God forbid, she let alcohol touch her lips, then being raped is her own fault.

This is called “Slut Shaming” as Laci Green of Sex + calls it. According to Green’s recent Youtube video “WTF Happened in Steubenville?”, “Slut Shaming” is a way of dehumanizing an individual to the point where they aren’t allowed to say no. Slut Shaming is, at its core, a form of bullying to reinforce skewed gender-based views of sex.

This is ridiculous, but people justify it by bringing in factors that should be unrelated, like, “She shouldn’t have drank so much” or, “She was wearing slutty clothing.”  The last time I checked, people had the right to dress and (legally) drink. A guy can go shirtless and get wasted beyond belief and that falls under the category of “boys being boys.” This translates to men getting more freedom of expression with fewer consequences for how they act.

The most upsetting part was the reporting on the Steubenville, Ohio rape trial. Two boys were accused of rape and sentenced to one year in juvenile hall. Not only does the sentence seem unfairly short, reporters on the scene were sympathizing with the rapists.

A CNN reporter was bold enough to talk about how sad it was that these rapists were having their promising athletic careers hampered by this charge, and the fact that they would have to register as sex offenders.

I don’t recall many people feeling sympathy for other criminals guilty of serious crimes.

I would never say do not preach safety, but we also need to start seriously talking about why rape is not okay. It’s not just women’s job to prevent rape by keeping themselves safe.   We have to actively work to disassemble a culture that makes rape okay. After all, men are raped too and it is not because of the length of their skirts: it is because someone thinks it is okay to take advantage of another human being.